School e-safety practice and the Unicef Rights of the Child legislation

I come from a Rights Respecting School, and part of the objectives of this accreditation is to ensure students are au fait with the responsibilities associated with such rights. Internet Safety ties in to numerous sections of the Unicef Rights of the Child legislation which can be used to prompt some useful guidance for conduct around e-safety in schools.

What do schools need to do against the articles of legislation?

Article 13: Freedom of Expression
What schools need to do: Encourage safe practice to share & express views, while reiterating responsibility for the effect this may have on others. Ensuring expressions are shared in safe format, working against cyber bullying.

Article 15: Freedom of Association
What schools need to do: Ensure children are aware of safety and security issues involved with online friendships, chat rooms, virtual worlds games, dangers of alternate realities and paedophilia, what to look for.

Article 16: Right to Privacy
What schools need to do: Ensure children are aware of how to employ privacy settings for online media (particularly social networking), link to cyber bullying.

Article 17: Right to access information & mass media
What schools need to do: Ensure students aware of how to search online safely, danger signs, potential scamming / phishing / virus mails.

Written by Jo Debens on March 25, 2013 14:58

The Student View

I've been working closely now with Digital Leaders for about 2 months now and it's been fascinating seeing how students work and engage with the internet and social media. As much as these are really good students and tech-savvy with ICT, it has been enthralling to see how they go about engaging with each other on the internet and using the tools available. The nature of this group also allows me to have more full and frank debates on the topic of e-safety outside of normal class discussions.

When discussing e-safety with the students, I was surprised to see how little they actually cared about this issue. They actually understood the idea of child protection, and stated that they had been told this from a really young age. I guess this is the same principal as 'don't talk to strangers' in primary school, and by the time the students had reached year 9/10 they actually didn't seem that bothered. One of the things I did ask them was how they thought they were perceived on the internet (the idea of digital dirt) and again, this didn't seem to bother them. However, when I suggested finding an open student profile and displaying it in the classroom they seemed mortified, so maybe this is a way of showing them how they show themselves to the wider world.

However, I also discussed with them something we covered this year in the areas of viruses, spyware, malware etc. and they said this was one of the more interesting takes on e-safety that they have had this year. They found this more insightful and said they were more likely to think about how they use Facebook in the future than before with the idea of online predators (I did a starter activity on Digital Forensics and the students really loved it!)

Of course, online predators is one aspect of e-safety not to be overlooked, but maybe we should challenge how we approach this topic. The idea that people are watching you on the internet is a scary thing, but nowadays with the sheer amount of information that we (all) are used to putting online, maybe we should revisit the idea of e-safety. Should the idea be to tell students not to put personal details online OR should we teach them what happens when we do and let them make their own educated decision?

Written by Ben Gristwood on March 25, 2013 14:59


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